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Old 12-05-2012, 08:34 PM   #1
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Wrong transmission fluid!

What should I do?! I went to my favorite auto store, and ask some newbie what filter and fluid I needed to change my focus's transmission fluid. He gave me merc/dex... I checked my fluid level, it was low, so I topped it off (I have no idea how much, that was about 6 months ago.) then I left it for 5 1/2 months, finally changing the filter and fluid a few weeks ago. I put it in (with a bottle of lucas stop slip).. this was about 2 weeks ago. I checked it again today (I was told to run it for a while, then check the level again and top it off if need be). it was low. so I grabbed the bottle to add some more, and just happened to look at the back, and the bottle said 'DO NOT USE IN FORDS NEWER THAN 2000'(or maybe it was 'DO NOT USE IN FORDS OLDER THAN 2005' whatever, it meant it wasn't for my 2003 (even though the front of the bottle says 'GM/FORD'))... Anyways, so I've parked the car, I went and got the cheapest MERCON V fluid I could... they suggested I should drop the pan and change the fluid again, then run it for a few months, then change it again, then change it again and put some of the better MERCON V in it...

thoughs? ideas? did this (probably/probably not) cause accelerated wear? Does their method of changing it sound like a good idea? or should I have a shop flush it? I read one thread that says flushing is bad, and another that says it's good. I've read a lot of threads saying merc/dex with a conditioner (while no one mentioned lucas, I assume that's what that is also?) is what a lot of tranny shops do to save a few bucks, cause the conditioner makes it work the same as MERCON V...

So, Anyways, if I haven't stated it clear enough, what should I do? worry about it? just top it off, or how should I change it to clean it all out?

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Old 12-05-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
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Drive it with the proper merc v put in at the right level, if u don't notice and erratic noises or shifting issues you should be fine
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:29 PM   #3
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Well, if you have an automatic transmission, and it is still running... then do not worry abouut it too much.
I would suck what you can out of the fill/ tranny dipstick tube, and replace what you took out with new, correct fluid. After a few hundred miles do it again. Then stop worrying.
The FACT your tranny has been runnning OK for months means nothing has gone bad in there. So stop the panic.
And even if you have an automatic tranny in there, you do not have to drop the pan, or have it flushed.
(I say this because you have had the extra 'wrong' fluid in there for MONTHS and nothing bad has (already) happened. So IMO nothing bad is going to happen. The fluid you used is basically similar, and not agonistic to the old fluid.

If you have a manual transmission, it does not matter at all. BUT you could drain it ,and replace the fluid. You do not have to flush it or anything.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:38 PM   #4
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however, keep in mind a simple drain and refill will still leave you with mixed fluids.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:59 PM   #5
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Damn, Liz... I just learned a new word! And here I thought my grammer natsi armband wasn't showing.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:55 PM   #6
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It may not make much difference. V fluid is synthetic and was supposed to be for the new 'hi energy' clutch discs used in cars after like 98-99. Takes more heat to break it down. Regular Mercon was much cheaper, somewhere in there the standard changed to where V is supposed to be used in ALL regular Mercon cars, Ford doesn't even make regular Mercon any more. Late enough in the game whoever made the regular Mercon may be mixing to suit both, price would be an indicator of that. V used to be like $1+/qt. over regular. If no funny shifting ever encountered I wouldn't give it another thought. I've mixed in mine with no trouble at all to burn up old stockpile of regular.........I use V by choice now though.

I think V mainly a heavier duty longer running version of regular, they extended change intervals for cars using it.
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:10 AM   #7
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It isn't the fluids that concern me, it's the constant loss of them that does.

My best advice is to fix the leaks.

I also don't believe in any type of additives. Being you're adding things that don't belong in the trans to the trans and I'm rather confident that very little maintenance has been done to the car,,, bring it to a shop and have them flush the trans and replace the filter.
Don't "think outside the box".
There is no box.
Do it correct, or do it twice.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:01 AM   #8
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Elizabeth-- It's only been running with the wrong fluid for like MAYBE 2 weeks, and it hasn't really been used all that much. short trips. The months I'm not too worried about, cause that was just a little topping off.
iminhell--- constant loss of fluid? it was a little low after not being changed in a very long time, then I changed it, and ran it then checked to see if I had filled it up completely (which I knew I hadn't), there is no 'constant' loss of fluid. And no, there has been a fair deal of maintenance to the car, I just neglected the transmission fluid...thus the reason for the additive.

thanks for the inputs everyone, I'm still not really sure the best mode of attack on this problem though, I guess I'll follow the advice (of the shop that got me into this mess?! (but I trust the employee that I talked to this time)) hopefully a change or 2 will take care of it and cause no major problems
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:12 AM   #9
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I think the amount of money you'd end up spending on draining/refilling multiple times would be better spent getting it flushed and filled at a shop.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:23 PM   #10
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You should be fine.

I ran Mercon-III for 6000 miles, the car didn't behave noticeably different. The only thing I noticed was: when coming to a stop, you could feel the downshift very slightly.

Did the fluid replacement by disconnecting the cooler hose and pumping it out two quarts at a time by running the car, as per the service manual procedure.

Exchanged 7 quarts of Mercon-V for what was in there, cost $45 for the fluid at $6/qt and took half an hour. Car feels the same after swapping back to the specified fluid, except the coasting-to-stop downshift is completely unnoticeable again. The 6000 mile Mercon-III looked and smelled brand new, it didn't let the clutches slip to death or anything so it seems.
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